Orchids kind of have a mystery about them. There are so many varieties and colors, and they’re all gorgeous, delicate and incredibly hard to keep in bloom. Usually, when you buy an orchid at the store they’re in full bloom, with glorious, dainty flowers all over the stems. Then, a few weeks later, you’re usually sad to find that all those perfect blooms are now wilted and all over your floor. You blame yourself, thinking that something you did wrong and caused the flowers to shrivel up and die. Maybe that’s true — did you water it too much or give it too much orchid food? What’s more likely is that the flowers just naturally fell off and if you cared for it correctly, they’ll come back in six months or a year, whenever they’re good and ready.
It’s really easy to kill orchids, though, so here are five tips to help you keep them from wilting into oblivion:
5 Re-Pot When Necessary
Orchids like to do their thing, but sometimes you will need to repot them. The roots rot easily and orchids are very susceptible to disease, so when you repot (once every year or two) you can inspect the roots. You can cut off any infected parts of the roots that you see and then pot them again for another year.
4 Plant Them in Loose Bark
Don’t make the mistake of putting your orchid in regular old potting soil. Out in the wild, orchids grow attached to other plants, so some loose bark is best so they can clutch onto it as if they were in the wild.
3 Don’t Over Water
Unlike some plants, orchids actually thrive on a little bit of neglect. Not too much, obviously! But don’t over water them or you can’t kiss them goodbye. One of the easiest ways to demolish a beautiful orchid is to water it every single day. Once a week or even once every ten days should do it, depending on how the soil or bark it’s planted in feels. But don’t think you need to shower it every day. You can also mist the orchid with little sprays of water here and there, so it feels like it’s in the tropics.
2 Increase Light in Winter)
Orchids generally don’t like hot, bright, direct sunlight, but they do thrive with plenty of indirect light. Place them near a window that gets sunlight, but not too much. In the winter, make sure the plant is getting a bit more light to make up for the lack of sunlight. Don’t move the orchid around too much though. They like to stay in one spot.
1 Keep it Simple
There are over 10,000 species of orchid, and some are more difficult to maintain than others. Find a species that’s not too picky about things like low light or changes in weather. Ask around at your local nursery and make sure you stay away from the more challenging species. Life’s too short to stress about orchids, right? Unless you’re one of the characters in that Spike Jonze film Adaptation — which you’re not.
So keep it simple, watch for rot, and don’t over water – it’s pretty easy. The worst thing you can do is over water and fuss with the plant too much. Now – go take care of your orchids, and watch Adaptation for some inspiration.